A picture is worth 1000 words, but right now, residents of California wish it was worth 1000 megalitres of fresh water.
These two photos, taken 30 months apart, show that Australia’s not the only country suffering from severe drought.
Folsom Lake is 40km northeast of Sacramento. In July 2011 the lake was at 97 per cent of total capacity and 130 pe rcent of its historical average for that date.
By mid January this year the lake was at 17 per cent and just 35 per cent of its historical average. You can read more about California’s drought here.
NASA is also helping tackle the record-breaking drought on America’s west coast. Read about their efforts here.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott today announced a $320 million assistance package for drought-affected farmers in NSW and Queensland. Around two-thirds of both states haven’t seen decent rainfall for two years.
The bulk of the package is $280 million for an increase in concessional loans at a reduced interest rate of 4 per cent, adding to the $420 million the previous government allocated to the program.
The remaining $40 million includes $12 million for emergency water infrastructure, $10.7 million for mental health and anti-depression services and $10 million for pest management.
Income support measures will also be introduced four months earlier than planned, starting next week, rather than on July 1.